My take on GTA V ending(s) [heavy spoilers]
After the big heist on the bank, you end up as Franklin – he has a mission at his own house up at the hills – this is the one that will trigger the last official mission. After a talk with Devin Weston, you have three options – kill Trevor, kill Michael or warn them instead.
My immediate choice was of course to let all three characters survive, but I wanted to see the alternate endings. It’s clear after playing all three that Rockstar wanted the third option as well. Read on at your own risk, and I suggest you play all three endings before you read on.
Option A: Kill Trevor
Franklin calls Trevor, asking him to meet with him. On your way to the meetup, Franklin calls Michael and tells him that he needs to kill Trevor, and requests Michaels help. Michael lingers, but end up saying that he won’t be able to kill Trevor due to the past. Upon meeting up with Trevor and starting the dialogue, Trevor realises that something is wrong, and he makes a run for it. You’re in for a car chase – this mission is scripted so that you won’t be able to catch up with him. Franklin calls Michael again, tells him that Trevor has made a run for it, and Michael says he’s nearby – suddenly a cutscene starts and you see Michael coming from the side, hitting Trevors car so it rams into a trailer full of fuel. As Franklin, shoot Trevor – and he’ll burn up. Michael swears and tries to justify the choice of getting rid of Trevor. Franklin and Michael splits – and further missions does not seem to appear.
Option B: Kill Michael
Quite similar to the above, but with the addition of a on foot chase through out a factory where Franklin and Michael yells out a dialogue about what is right and wrong. This had my heart bleed, because I like the relationship between Michael and Franklin and to see this scene unfold was hard – but it is also unrealistic, rushed and phoney.
Option C: Deathwish
So you don’t want to kill either of the characters? Seems like R* agrees as this mission is by far the most planned one and the most extensive one. Franklin calls Lester and meets up with him in his house. After a quick talk and trying to plan out things, Michael and Trevor gets updated on the matter. All three meets at the foundry, and before you know it, it’s overrun by apparently both Merryweather and the FIB – take out everyone in sight by changing between the three characters – Lamar is outside giving the trio a warning if any enemies approaches. At some point he needs help, so you’ll have to join him as Franklin outside or Lamar dies which will fail the mission. This happens once more where you as Michael have to join Franklin and Lamar outside. When you’ve taken care of all the S.W.A.T. teams, Franklin calls Lester on speaker phone and ask him to help out with finding a number of different persons who’ve been a pain in the ass for either of three of the playable characters in one way or another.
Franklin has to take out the chinese guy (Wei Chang) who Trevor was about to do a deal with (and that the o’Neill brothers tried to take the deal under Trevors nose), Michael has to take out Stretch (who set up Franklin with an ambush) and Trevor has to take out Steve Haines, the FIB fellow who in collaboration with Michaels “good” friend, Dave Norton issued a couple high staked but not-so-well-paid jobs to the trio. Now, I wont be elaborating on each kill, but you’ll do all three.
After the last one has been taken care of, Trevor get the enjoyment of getting his hands on Devin Weston who gave you the car job but never paid you – and oh, he was also the one giving Franklin the ultimatum who led you to the mess of deciding how the game should end.
Now, there’s a certain morale to this choice and what Rockstar shows you in the end scene depending on your choice.
A: Kill the mad man who has done nothing but trouble, other than being a good shoot when things start to burn around you. Yet, that person has a heart, he mourned over Michaels (apparent) death, he cried when he lost someone he loved, and he’s honest. And oh, he was also your (Michaels) best friend. You stabbed him in the back, not once, but twice!
B: Kill the guy who mentored you, who took you in as family, in spite on how you met (stealing his sons car, RE.), just because you think that will solve the problems. And get back to the daft people in the ghetto on top of it all. [facepalm]
C: Stay together. Call friends to warn them, team up and fight back against the traitor filled private army and the FIB who you’ve helped, but kept asking you to do stuff for them. With option C revealing a much longer and more emotional correct experience (and you not being able to skip the credits…!), it’s pretty clear which path Rockstar wanted to go themselves. I still think that if you chose option A or B, an email straight after the credits should be in order: “You decided to kill Trevor/Michael, some things are inaccessible now, want to try another ending? – Yes – No”. Before I reached the end I was aware of the three-ending split, so I made a couple of saves so I could play through all three of them (no, there’s no achievements for playing all three – sadly) so I played them just to experience them all.
And to be totally honest and direct, option A and B were both blunt experiences and emotionally detached to the rest of the story. Why would a person so dependable on another kill them, not when that person hasn’t turned against the apparent killer? NO. Just, no!
It feels like someone at the last minute convinced the rest of the team that they had to include alternate endings because that’s the new trending thing in games. To be honest, I’d rather have had experienced the game without. After Devins short visit at Franklins house, I can imagine an upset Franklin go around the house, talking to himself on what to do now. Who should he be calling and so on, all ending with him going out to Chop and talk to him – just to change the gameplay to Trevor and prompt the Mrs. Philips mission. And instead of changing from Trevor from there, he calls Franklin who tells him about the situation – then the mission goes from there.